Dozens displaced due to asbestos problem at Virginia Beach apartment complex

13News Now Jemie Lee has the story

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) - Dozens of residents displaced because of an asbestos problem are now getting help from the City of Virginia Beach.

The leases of tenants at the Waypoint at Lynnhaven complex were terminated Friday. Some residents were barred from entering their homes to retrieve belongings. Residents are staying in hotels, but the complex will only pay for them to stay there until October 31. With so many people unsure of what to do or where to go next, an assessment center was set up at a nearby church.

Resources including the public health department, the housing department, the department of human resources were available to help people find new housing, obtain food vouchers, and get transportation so that the kids can go to school.

"It's terrible. We've lost everything, and we have to come out here and beg everybody to help us. It hurts your pride," Carmen Welsh said.

Carmen has a four-year-old son who has cystic fibrosis and epilepsy. His medical equipment is still inside the asbestos-infested home, but she is one of many residents barred from going back into their homes.

"His medical bed and the medical equipment that he needs to maintain his every day life is trapped inside our townhouse. He's struggling. He's congested. He's not feeling good. He knows something is wrong," she said.

Local charities like "Hotel Kids" dropped off food, clothing, and toiletries to the help center. While Waypoint residents are grateful for the donations, they're devastated by the irreplaceable things they lost.

"The main thing that I needed or wanted out of my house is my daughter's things. I have a daughter who passed away and all of her things are up there," Renitia Collins said.

"Waypoint has handled this situation unprofessionally. I feel like they should have let the parents in to get the kid's clothes, to get the medications that the elderly need, that the disabled need," Velma Minter said.

A spokesperson for The Kettler Company, which manages Waypoint, told 13News Now it will allow residents to retrieve only items of extreme importance, such as birth certificates, social security cards, and medications. If the apartment is infested with asbestos, the contractor will have to retrieve the items for the residents. Residents are asked to call the leasing office to set up an appointment.

The assessment center will be open again Wednesday at the Church of Holy Apostles from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. 


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